What Is Triclosan And Why You Should Avoid It.

August 21, 2007

Triclosan is normally used as a bacteria killer. Found in tons of products from deodorants to toothpaste to household cleaners, triclosan mainly acts like an antibiotic, trying to kill anything that it comes in contact with. But that’s not the real concern…the real concern is that studies have shown that triclosan can combine with chlorine in our tap water to make chloroform gas. The EPA classifies this gas as a probable human carcinogen…you like brushing your teeth with chloroform gas? One study even showed that triclosan was broken down into dioxins in river water because of the presence of sunlight. So mixing this wonderful chemical with water, either inside or outside of the house, results in toxins thought to be carcinogenic to us humans (and probably other creatures)…sounds perfectly safe, right? It totally belongs in stuff we put in and on our bodies! In the United States, federal law mandates that products that have tricolsan in them must show it on the label. So go ahead and look at your dish soap, toothpaste deodorant, face wash…don’t worry, I will wait.

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Because everyone wants “antibiotic” soaps and lotions, triclosan is very popular with product makers. Why they want this stuff I will never understand, because regular old soap is just as effective as antibiotic soap. Putting antibiotics in all of our soaps will only breed stronger and stronger bacteria, and we don’t really want that, do we? According to wikipedia, triclosan is used in many common household products including Clearasil Daily Face Wash, Dentyl mouthwash, the Colgate Total range, Pepsodent, Softsoap, Dial, Right Guard deodorant, Sensodyne Total Care, Old Spice and Mentadent.

Luckily, there are alternatives. Tom’s of Maine does not use triclosan in their products and real natural cleaners don’t either. Of course, you know they don’t if you make your own natural cleaners, but even cleaners from Seventh Generation or Dr. Bronner’s don’t either, so you are safe there.

Want another reason to stay away from triclosan? Tricolsan is similar to the pesticide Agent Orange and can cause decreased fertility, birth defects and damage to major body organs. It is NOT something you want to be using in your personal care routine!

About the Author:

After a varied past of being a test driver for automotive television programs, a Hollywood studio lackey, and an online media sales director, David is now the publisher and editor of The Good Human. In his spare time he rides motorcycles, drinks good beer, and builds stuff in the garage. You can follow him on Twitter at @thegoodhuman or G+ at Google
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Comments (24)

  1. Alotta Errata says:

    just after I rid myself of parabens, one more thing to look out for! My husband is one of those people who loves anything anti-bacterial. He’s a certified germaphobe. It took a while but I managed to get about 90% of our household cleaners switched from traditional brands to seventh generation and the like, or baking soda and vinigar when it’s convenient. The toothpaste… now that’s going to be a challenge!

  2. david says:

    There’s always something to look out for! Try showing him the study that says antibacterials dont work any better than regular soap, and tell him that the use of the antibacterials is only going to lead to stronger and stronger strains of bacteria. Maybe that will work!

  3. CindyW says:

    Also depending on the kinds of bacteria. Some don’t really hurt us, at least not as much as tricolsan. I spoke with my kids’ pediatrician about the prevalent nut allergy. He said the one of the strong theories was that our environment was too germ-free. Children by nature have hyper-active immune system to attack anything suspicious. Because there are few germs to attack due to the prevalent use of anti-bacteria soap, when a complex protein such as a peanut is introduced into the child”™s system, the body thinks it”™s an enemy and tries to fight it ”“ thus the reaction. An interesting theory. The city of Palo Alto eliminated the use of anti-bacterial soap in all city facilities.

  4. david says:

    Really? They eliminated it? That’s great, I wish every city in America would do it. That stuff needs to go, it’s going to end up being one of the ruins of all of us someday.